Wales Rally GB winner Elfyn Evans wants M-Sport teammate Sebastien Ogier to stick with the Cumbrian squad next season.
Despite M-Sport's domination of the WRC this season – with all three drivers winning rallies, Ogier taking the drivers' and M-Sport lifting the manufacturers' titles with one round to spare – Evans feels there's more to come in 2018.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he would feel ready to lead an M-Sport team if Ogier did depart, with fellow Ford Fiesta WRC driver Ott Tanak already having switched to Toyota for next year, Evans replied: "I really hope he doesn't go.
"I've enjoyed working with him and Julien [Ingrassia, co-driver] and I've really learned from them this season. This team has achieved so much this season, but moving forward I think there's even more that we could do together.
"It would be such a shame to change the team too much, I'd love the chance to pick up next season where we finish at the end of this year if he's still with the team."
On the subject of him leading M-Sport, he added: "Leading the team's really not something I've even thought about next year. Ott and I did it in 2015, when we were both at a similar level and relatively inexperienced.
"But now it's a different situation. I wouldn't say I have more confidence now, I'd say I have a different type of confidence. I wouldn't see it as being a big problem [if Ogier departed], but like I said, I really hope he doesn't."
M-Sport's Malcolm Wilson admitted he didn't expect any news before Rally Australia.
He told Motorsport.com: "There's still nothing to report I'm afraid. I know what we have to do, I know where we have to get to and that's what I'm working on now. I've got more meetings this week, but I can't see things being sorted before Australia."